An Agenda for US Policy Debate and Transition
Project on Defense Alternatives
Recent defense policy evinces a disturbing paradox: it has been delivering less and less security at ever increasing cost. And, on a world scale, a process of global re-polarization and re-militarization underway. If unchecked, this portends a return to conditions reminiscent of the Cold War, which would add impetus to weapon proliferation, arms races, and conflicts.
Three Core Concerns
Core concern 1. Security policy vision: How do we understand and hope to attain security?
entails our assessment of the security environment and its dynamics as well as
our security interests, goals, concerns, and strategy. Presently, the “war on terrorism” provides
the principal organizing theme for
alternative approach might emphasize broad multilateral cooperation in
redressing the sources of stress and instability in the international
system. Central questions for US
policymakers include: What is the appropriate balance between cooperation and
Core concern 2. The role of force and the armed forces in US foreign and security policy.
Cold War’s end, the role of the
Core concern 3. The
Topics for Policy Debate and Change
The 25 specific concerns that we have identified can be divided into eight categories:
■ Policy on strategic warfare
■ Counter-proliferation, counter-terrorism, and homeland security
■ Policy on major military operations, conventional and irregular
■ Peacetime military engagement
■ The US stance on international law and arms control
■ Civil-military relations: The growing influence of the Pentagon
■ Defense budget, acquisition, and management issues
■ Country-specific controversies
Policy on Strategic Warfare
1. Nuclear weapons, missile defense, and the “new deterrence”
2. Prompt global strike: The advent of conventional strategic warfare
3. Seizing the “new high ground”: the weaponization of space
Counter-proliferation, counter-terrorism, and homeland security
4. Offensive counter-proliferation (OCP): Arms control by bombardment?
5. Counter-terrorism & homeland security: Search for a sensible strategy
Major regional military operations, conventional and irregular
6. Preparations for major wars reflect unnecessarily ambitious goals
7. “Shock and awe” strategy and attacks on civilian-military targets
8. Counter-insurgency, peace and stability operations, nation-building
Peacetime military engagement
9. Global military presence & base posture: cover the earth?
10. Military cooperation, assistance, and arms transfers programs
11. Adherence to international law and legal institutions
12. The role of negotiated arms control in US security policy
Civil-military relations: The growing influence of the Pentagon
13. DOD’s domestic “perception management” efforts
14. DOD’s drive for expanded “authorities” and greater freedom of action
Defense budget and acquisition issues
15. DOD’s broken financial and inventory accounting system.
16. Pork-barrel spending: the Pentagon budget as “gravy train”
17. DOD’s broken weapon procurement system
18. Military transformation: To what end? How much of what is enough?
19. Setting the defense budget – forever more than $600 billion?
25. Increased military
activity in sub-Saharan Africa and